Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Socialized Streets, Privatized Sidewalks (Pictures)

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2011 at 11:24 am

View the accompanying article here.

Wow, what a beautiful day! Let's go to the park.

The local laundromat is refusing to shovel the walk? Is this even a real business? How do customers get in and out? Ridiculous.

Perhaps this homeowner decided there is no point in shoveling if the business next door refuses to do it. Or maybe the other way around...either way, this is unacceptable.

Here we are, playing in the snow and juggling on a gorgeous day in north Moorhead's Northeast Park.

Dylan chasing his young "friend" he just met with a chair on the skating rink. Another citizen brought the chair to help her daughter learn to skate. Good times.

One of the worst offenders in my neighborhood completely refuses to remove the snow piled up by the plow at the cutout.

Wow, by far the best job in the neighborhood, this person not only does the minimum, but clears the snow right down to the sidewalk the entire length of the property including two cutouts to the street. Well done and thank you!







Shovel Man And Sled Boy

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm

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“Shovel Man And Sled Boy” – Flash Fiction From The Daddy Dispatch

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm

As the snow continues to pile up, it is another tough year for shovelers and snow-blowers alike.  Motorola wielding motorists are forced to slow their SUVs down to the speed limit to avoid the accidents, mailmen forget all about dogs, and children are made to walk in the streets due to unshoveled sidewalks.

Only one man has the audacity to remove the offending drifts and deposit the snow where it belongs, piled against the doors and vehicles of the offending property.   Along with his quart-sized sidekick, Sled Boy, they patrol the streets of north Moorhead, clearing away the injustice of inaction.

Where did Shovel Man come from?  His origins are not shrouded in mystery, they are a matter of public record and common sense.  For too long has the city shifted the burden of reporting and enforcing snow shoveling ordinances onto the lower middle and working classes, for too long have three car garages proliferated as sidewalk-less cul-de-sacs spread further and further from elementary schools and grocery stores.

One night, our hero had enough.  Vigilantism was born of frustration as he was trying to pull his three year old son to the nearest snow mountain for an hour of pretending to walk on the moon and sledding.  Their progress came to an abrupt halt as the sidewalk first narrowed, then became an impenetrable wall of inconsideration.

“Groove Your Body,” the billboards exhort.  “Get more exercise,” the doctors advise, “Use less oil,” suggest the guardsmen on their third tour in Afghanistan.  And yet the roads are plowed while the sidewalks devolve into an impassable potemkin village of propriety.  Considerate homeowners clear their walk only to have it blocked up at the corner by the lout who is unwilling to clear the crucial area where the sidewalk meets the gutter.

24 hours after each snowfall, Shovel Man and Sled Boy patrol the neighborhood.  When an offending property is identified, they carve their symbol into the snow as a warning to the occupants that justice will be served.  The symbol is well known and need not be reproduced here as all who need fear retribution from Shovel Man and Sled Boy are quite familiar with the consequences.  When you wake up and find you are unable to leave your house or enter your car, please think not of the inconvenience and extralegal comeuppance you have received, but of the silent and long suffering masses who have finally found a voice, beating swords into shovels on the way to plowshares.

*simulposted to FamilyAndLiving*


In Uncategorized on January 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Uff da.  We had a bad day yesterday.  Dylan, myself, and most of all Baby Julia.  The Juje has been on the edge of something big.  She has been saying a few words, signing others (ASL style), and getting into everything.  Part of the everything Julia loves to get into includes her brother’s face.  “No Julia!  Stop it!  Daddy!” has been the refrain.

We had the car for the day as Nelly carpooled with a friend, and it seemed a shame to continue our housebound streak when we had an opportunity to play with other kids, so I scheduled an afternoon appointment at the downtown YMCA playstation.

The playstation is great for at-home parents like myself, as it offers the all important two-fer: exercise for me, playtime with others for the children.  What could be better to cure the wintertime blues?  We had taken the bus downtown the last few times and really enjoyed it, but my muscles were like jelly by the time we arrived home, what with carrying baby and gear to the bus stop, walking from the Ground Transportation Center to the Y, working out for an hour, then getting us back home.

So there I was, fifteen minutes into a workout that was to include cardio, weight lifting, jumping rope, and sitting in a hot room with large naked men when a playstation attendant pulled me from the elliptical machine. She was sorry to have to do it, but Julia was inconsolable.

Skipping both sauna and shower, I hustled while thinking to my snide self it was too bad they couldn’t handle a baby crying.  When I opened the door, I understood.  She was inconsolable.  Tired, cranky, and straight up screamy, she alternated between shrieking and shaking until she fell asleep in the car a few minutes from home.

Getting out of the Y and to the relative safety of our car was enough of a challenge, thank goodness we did not also have a bus to catch.  Dylan exacerbated the situation, adding his own growls and complaints to the melodramatic millieu.  His usual dawdling and insistence on the proper order of putting on his winter stuff could not be altered, no matter how eloquently I stated the need for his complete and prompt cooperation.  Uff da.

I handled things fairly well, but will admit that I was very snappy and out of sorts for the rest of the evening, until the children were safely asleep.  It was a tough day.

Early this morning, I crawled into bed expecting baby girl to be there, and I discovered what all the fuss was about.

“She’s still in her crib where you put her down last night,” Janelle told me.  “She slept through the night.”

Now how great is that?  Good days and bad, progress and regress, it is all time well spent here at the big house in Moorhead.

*simulposted to FamilyAndLiving*